Last weekend our first born turned five. It’s hard to believe that five years have elapsed since that magical moment when our lives changed forever and I’m so very proud of the little person she’s become.
Each birthday we try to do something meaningful to celebrate- something that is fun but benefits others as well. When Calixa turned one, we got her a bee hive (sans queen) to pollinate the flowers around our home and neighborhood. When she turned three we asked party goers to bring a donation rather than a gift and we gave the money to Funds for Furry Friends, a nearby animal fostering service. This year the party revolved around IKEA’s Soft Toys For Education campaign.A chance trip into Winnipeg last week provided us with the opportunity to purchase soft toys from the Swedish multi-national mega store. It seemed a no brainer when we learned that for every item purchase during the soft toy campaign, IKEA donates $1 to Save The Children and UNICEF. The natural thing was to include these little toys in our birthday activities. The kids all got character descriptions of their toys and hand-drawn pictures of their toys (children are notoriously forgiving art critics) which they could color in. Afterwards, they ran wild up and down the stairs, following clues and searching for their hidden treasures was a soft toy. I also promised them each a story about their little toys, which I’ve started writing and have ensured will be delivered into their parent’s in-boxes before Christmas.The party was a resounding success and everyone had a lot of fun. The kids didn’t notice anything different or odd- they simply had fun. Isn’t that the point?
I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel but I must admit, it feels really nice knowing that in a world governed by market-driven overspending and wracked by the idea that spending money on people is how we show them we love them, it is possible to carve out a little good and allocate some of our celebratory spending to those who need it most.
It’s a little gesture but it has the potential to impact thousands. Imagine if more birthday parties were like this one?